Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Hardly the welcoming entry point we
expected for a place called Happy Bay.
We followed some locals to this trail to
the right of the closed gate.  A little
further down the trail was a break
in the wall, with a makeshift stepping
stone on each side.

In the interest of getting the bare facts, we’re taking a purely unscientific survey of the nude beaches of the Caribbean (more on that in a future post).  I say “we” though Wayne does the preliminary research… finding the beaches and providing the inspiration.  I go along for the ride.  It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it, and a great way to avoid tan lines. This blog tells the tale of when our destination bore the promising name of Happy Bay.  
Wayne and Dana at Orient Beach, St. Martin, on the border
of the clothing optional area.  What were, or weren’t we
wearing?  Smiles, for sure.
Some Bare Basics About Nude Beaches
If you’ve never visited a nude beach, here’s a short primer…

  1. Nude beaches are generally described as “clothing optional.”
  2. You will see anything from full-on nudity to fully clothed (aka “the textiles”).
  3. Nude beaches are sometimes legally sanctioned, sometimes not (click here for an example of a now unsanctioned nude beach sign, that was noted as a nude beach by numerous printed sources)
  4. Nudists range from the anorexic, to young and buff, to beer-bellied seniors and just about everything in between (if you’re curious about what’s typical, it will be addressed in a future post – we are, after making a survey).
  5. It is not okay to take photos of other nudists, with the possible exception of those you know who’ve explicitly given their permission, prior.  On rare occasion, there is a specially identified photo area.
  6. Most nudist beaches are relatively private, or there is prominent signage noting you are approaching a clothing optional area.
  7. Other than not wearing clothing, what happens, or doesn’t happen, at a nudist beach is no different that what you would expect at any typical beach.

This was one of the many four-footed
locals wandering alongside the gravel
road walk through fields and an
abandoned neighborhood on our way
to Happy Bay beach.
Unperturbed by a closed gate “entrance” (clothing optional beaches are often not very accessible or obvious) we made our way to Happy Bay.  At the end of the trail we encountered a lovely beach, with a tiny open air snack bar, and neither “clothing optional” nor “no nudity” signs.  The folks on the beach were all clothed, including several families with children of various ages playing on the beach. 
It was a long, hot, dusty hike there, and we did not bring our swimsuits, so we were very disappointed.  Worse, I needed to pee, intensely.  There were no restrooms or even outhouses.  I resorted to ducking into the shrubbery and playing nature girl, putting the wipees, a regular staple in the daypack I always carry on outings, to use.  An ocean douche after that and a sweaty walk would be most welcome.
We enjoyed meeting Paul and Peggy and their Coastal
Pleasure passengers at Happy Bay.  A good time was had by all.
To cool off and mull over our options, we split a cold Carib beer from the beach bar. The bartender told us the other end of the beach was indeed clothing optional.  As we headed that way, a powerboat bearing the name “Coastal Pleasures” and the website, anchored near that part of the beach.  All 10 or so folks on the boat were nude, confirmation we’d indeed come to the right place. 
No longer a minority, with relief, we stripped down and introduced ourselves to the captain, Paul. He and his first mate, Peggy, provide snorkel tours and clothing optional tours through the company originally founded by his brother, Alan.  Their nudist beach tours are offered a couple times a week.  They visit several beaches on the island, include lunch, and were highly rated when I checked them out on (click here to seetheir reviews, which also includes a link to their website).  Paul was swishing his hand in a bucket. I asked what was in the bucket.  “We’re doing a mud bath here.  Would you like to join us?  The more the merrier!”
I agreed instantly, as I’ve wanted to try out a mud bath for some time, and Wayne was previously unwilling.  To my surprise, Wayne joined in, too.  They were a jovial group, and seemed as happy to bring us into their fold as we were to oblige.  Paul described the locally gathered ooze “magic mud.”  It was runny, a light grayish-white color, about the consistency of wall primer, with a very fine grit.  Under Peggy’s tutelage, we made sure we all were fully coated, then topped that with the slightly grittier beach sand.  After following that with an ocean water rinse, I would agree the stuff is indeed “magic mud.”  My skin felt fantastic!  Soft, and smooth with a slight pleasantly oily sheen.  I heartily recommend both the mud bath, and Peggy and Paul as tour guides.
This and similar groups came by about every half hour.  They
didn’t seem to notice us. We appreciated that we weren’t
asked to move, as we were anchored near their mooring ball.
We enjoyed Happy Bay so much we decided to return.  This time, we skipped the hike from Grande Case and anchored at Happy Bay.  We were not alone.  About every half hour, a group of 5-10 dinghy riders tied off to a mooring ball a few feet from our boat.  Fortunately, they seemed okay with our encroaching on their spot.  Less okay (major understatement) another visitor (click here to learn about that overly closeencounter in a previous post).

Still, Happy Bay is a great place to relax in whatever you do, or don’t, decide to wear.  Nice beach, with a good mix of sun and shade, sand and treed spots.  Great swimming.  Reasonable snorkeling (after Hawaii and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, my bar for what I consider great snorkeling is really high).  Half the adventure is also seeing whoever else shows up.